Chapter 0:

Tomorrow is Closed

“Mitoma-san, what does it mean when a guy asks why I don’t have a boyfriend?”

She was standing in front of me, her feet planted firmly at the point where waves merge with sand.

“I don’t know… it depends on context.”

“Context? I just gave you the context. The context is that a guy is asking if I have a boyfriend.”

“I mean the conversation leading up to it.”

She dusted off something from her uniform. “It sounds like you’re jealous.”

“N-no, I mean, context is important.”

“Well, the context is that there is no context.”


“It means he’s into me. Right?”

I don’t remember if she was happy or upset. After all, I couldn’t see her face, only the way something was tinging the seawater a bloody red. The air around us—

No… the air around me?

—felt thick and unwelcoming, like the vapour of heavy industry and burnt plastic, and the temperature was uncomfortably warm for midnight.

Wasn’t it just sunset?


Moments of silence went by. Then, all of a sudden, she was floating in the air, flickering in and out of existence among white clouds and a bright yellow sun. The lines in the sand had disappeared, just like her face.

No… I should use more precise language. Her face was never there to begin with, so it couldn’t have disappeared. Something that was never there can’t go away.

Hey, Kaoru.


You can paint anyone you want on this canvas.

But I can’t see her face.

That’s the point.

Say her name. Any name will do, Kaoru.

A million years of eternity flashed before my eyes.

“Mitoma-san, why don’t you have a girlfriend?”